Jonathan, Sambo, govs to pay tax on personal emoluments

— The personal emolument of President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Namadi Sambo, will henceforth to be taxed under the new Personal Income
 ABUJA Tax, PIT, Act 2011 (Amended).

Also to be taxed are state governors and their deputies.

President Goodluck Jonathan (middle); Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State (left) and Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State during President Jonathan's stop-over at Warri Airport enroute Bayelsa State to inspect the explosion on Chevron platform, yesterday. Photo: Henry Unini.

Under the new law, members of the public who earn N3.2 million and above per annum are also to pay as high as 24 per cent as tax to the government.

On the other hand, low income earners who receive less than N300,000 per annum could pay only  one per cent in the new tax regime, according to Chairman of Joint Tax Board, JTB, and Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, who briefed the press in Abuja, yesterday.

Her words: “With these new provisions, the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors will now pay tax on all their income as is done by every other tax payer.”

She described the new PIT as “a more equitable tax system” than the old and that the new rates were “realistic,” as high income earners would be made to pay heavy PIT, while the poor are relieved by being made to pay just a token.

The new income bands and their corresponding tax rates are: First N300, 000, 7 per cent; next N300,000,11 per cent; next N500,000,15 per cent; next N500,000, 19 per cent ; next N1.6 million, 21 per cent; and above N3.2 million, 24 per cent.

Until the PIT Act was amended last year, it operated on rates where those who earned N30,000 per annum were paying five per cent; next N30,000,10 per cent; next N50,000,15 per cent; next N50,000, 20 per cent and above N1.6 million, 25 per cent.

Mrs Omoigui-Okauru added, however, that all tax payers would receive a simple-to-administer Consolidated Relief and Allowances of N200,000 plus 20 per cent of gross income deductible allowance from each tax payer’s income before computing tax on the balance.

Under the previous regime, there were allowances and reliefs such as N2,500 per annum for children subject to a maximum of four children and dependent relative allowance of N2,000 per annum, as well as a housing allowance of N 150,000 per annum and transport allowance of N20,000 per annum, among others.

The JTB chairman said the board would introduce a “Presumptive Tax Regime for the informal sector and other persons, whose incomes are not easily verifiable.  and added, “by this provision, the tax authorities can now use presumptive basis for determining the tax liability of such tax payers.”

Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru explained that the new act was a demonstration that government listened to Nigerians and that the PIT would now become more effectively administered, expressing confidence that the nation would be better for it in terms of high tax revenue.

Her words, “With the new Act, government has demonstrated that it has a listening ear and reduced the overall burden on low income and middle income earners, while recouping these from high net worth individuals, who will be expected to bear a higher burden given their level of earning.

“The amended Act also introduced an overall simplified process of compliance, which is expected to attract a high rate of voluntary compliance and widen the taxpayer base of tax authorities.  This in turn is expected to lead to a higher yield in personal income tax collection.

“The provision of a defined, accessible and cost-effective process of dispute resolution by the tax appeal tribunals provides an independent outlet for taxpayer complaints and resolution of such”.

The Chairman warned individual tax evaders and corporate organization who deduct workers’ taxes and refuse to remit to the tax authorities that the game was over and that they would be made to face stiff penalties.

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